UPDATE: Dodgers re-sign Hiroki Kuroda for one-year, $12 million

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UPDATE: Pretty sweet deal for the Dodgers. According to ESPN.com’s Jayson Stark, Kuroda will receive an $8 million salary next season and a $4 million signing bonus that will be paid out in 2012 and 2013.

According to Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com, Kuroda also receives a full no-trade clause and can earn an additional $500,000 with incentives.

10:06 PM: Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that Kuroda will receive a one-year, $12 million contract.

9:48 PM: As expected, the deal is for one year, according to Dylan Hernandez.

9:30 PM: According to Dylan Hernandez of the Los Angeles Times, Hiroki Kuroda has re-signed with the Dodgers.

No word yet on the exact terms of the contract, but the two sides were reportedly close to a one-year, $12 million deal over the weekend.

Kuroda, who turns 36 in February, recently considered a return to Japan after completing his three-year, $35.3 million contract with the Dodgers, but he would have left a boatload of money on the table in the process. The right-hander posted a 3.39 ERA, 1.16 WHIP and 158 /48 K/BB ratio over 31 starts this past season and was easily one of the best free agent starters available.

We wondered which direction the Dodgers would go in this winter, but after re-signing both Kuroda and Ted Lilly, the starting rotation is in place to be a real strength in 2011.

Evan Longoria: “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base.”

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The Rays were busy over the weekend, trading starter Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, designating All-Star outfielder Corey Dickerson for assignment, and then picking up C.J. Cron in a deal with the Angels. The Rays saved about $4 million — Odorizzi’s $6.3 million less Cron’s $2.3 million salary — and picked up a prospect. They’re still on the hook for Dickerson’s $5.95 million salary until they can find a trade partner, which seems likely.

Those are some head-scratching moves if you’re a Rays fan or a member of the Rays. Dickerson hit .282/.325/.490 with 27 home runs, 62 RBI, and 84 runs scored in 629 plate appearances last season, part of which resulted in his first trip to the All-Star Game. Designating him for assignment is strictly a financial move, assuming he can be traded. The Rays are currently operating with a payroll below $70 million. This comes just a week and a half after Rays ownership proposed the public footing most of the bill for the club’s new stadium. And the Rays had traded third baseman Evan Longoria — then the face of the franchise — to the Giants earlier this offseason.

Longoria expressed sympathy for Rays fans for having to put up with this. Via Andrew Baggarly, Longoria said of the curious Dickerson move, “I just kind of feel sorry for the Rays fan base. … I’m not going to take too many shots but it’s pretty obvious that guy is a valuable player and didn’t deserve to be DFAd. Corey was our best player last year.”

Longoria isn’t quite on the money there. By WAR, Dickerson ranked fifth among position players on the team, according to Baseball Reference. FanGraphs is also in agreement. Still, it’s indisputable that Dickerson, who turns 29 years old this May, more than pulled his weight. The Rays do not have a surfeit of starting outfielders, so it wasn’t like they were making room for other capable players. Mallex Smith, who put up a .684 OPS in 282 PA last year, is slated to start in left field at the moment. Designating Dickerson for assignment, as well as trading Longoria and Odorizzi, were simply cost-cutting decisions.

The Rays’ M.O. has been part of the problem leading to the current stagnant free agent market (sans Eric Hosmer‘s eight-year deal on Saturday). Teams like the Rays, Phillies, Reds, and Tigers have been explicitly putting out non-competitive teams in order to facilitate a rebuilding process. Longoria is right to express sympathy for Rays fans, who see their favorite team worsening a roster that went 80-82 last year. The Rays haven’t finished at .500 or above since 2013 and doesn’t figure to halt the streak this year.